One startup’s slingshot to take on travel goliaths: designers, artists and great

Announcement from Curacity
Press Contact

On AHotelLife.com, Ben Pundole, the boutique hotel pioneer, invited his friends in the arts, fashion and travel review the world’s most unusual and interesting hotels. Initially a labor of love, the site now can expand thanks to Curacity, a startup that integrates hotel booking with high-quality travel journalism.

What’s New:  A Hotel Life, the award-winning travel blog, is being relaunched to offer reservations at some of the world’s most interesting and unusual hotels. 

When: Friday, December 2, 2016.

What’s Different: Leaders in the arts, fashion, and travel stay at distinctive hotels, shoot candid photos and write crisp, opinionated reviews.

Who Benefits: Adventurous travelers who feel the hotel write-ups on Expedia and Booking.com are pablum and the reviews on TripAdvisor don’t reflect their tastes.

Who’s Behind it: Curacity, a New York startup, embeds white-glove hotel booking into high-quality travel sites and apps. Their first site was with Surface Magazine (SurfaceHotels.com) focused on design-oriented properties.

The Bigger Picture: With advertising revenue declining, publishers find it every more difficult to pay for travel reporting. Curacity offers a new business model that captures the value that great content creates.

What’s Next: A Hotel Life now can afford to expand and cover more hotels. Curacity will forge partnerships with more publishers, each with distinctive editorial perspectives. Meanwhile, Curacity is also developing a suite of innovative database and content marketing tools for independent, boutique and luxury hotels.

For More Information:  See the release below or contact Saul Hansell of Curacity at 646 714 2470 and saul@curacity.com. Interviews can be arranged with Be Pundole, editor of A Hotel Life, and Mike Keriakos, founder and CEO of Curacity.

BOOK YOUR NEXT HOTEL ROOM WITH AN INSIDER

If all you want in a hotel is easy parking and bran flakes in the breakfast bar, you will have no interest in A Hotel Life.

But if you travel the world looking for the most interesting, even quirky, places to lay your head, then plan your next trip at the relaunched AHotelLife.com.

A Hotel Life is a site on which creative leaders in fashion, film, art, music, design, and travel have reviewed nearly 300 of the world’s most interesting hotels. The site will now let travelers reserve the rooms they read about, always with the guaranteed lowest rate.  The reservations will be handled by Curacity, a New York startup devoted to personalized travel experiences.

“I started A Hotel Life because I have a passion for the creativity that goes into making a great hotel,” says Ben Pundole, the site’s founder and editor. “Every little detail--the smells, the colors, the selection in the minibar, the uniforms, even how the doorman greets you when you first arrive—should transport you to a magical place.”

Ben himself has helped cast spells on weary travelers for more than two decades. He created some of the world’s hottest hotel bars running the nightlife division of Ian Schrager's Morgans Hotel Group. Now he’s the Vice President for Brand Experience at Edition Hotels, a partnership between Schrager and Marriott.

In contrast to the bland pasteurized pablum on most travel sites, reviews on A Hotel Life are raw, personal, and opinionated. They are presented in a breezy easy to scan format that highlights where each hotel excels and where it falls short.

  • “It’s my favorite hotel lobby in the city, decorated like my dream apartment,” writes Alex Catarinella, a writer, reviewing the Bowery Hotel in New York. “At night, try to grab a couch with your homies and drink it up either for a pre-game or for a nightcap after the club.”
  • “It felt like we were in the Flintstones,” says Crystal Moselle, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, of Kelebek Cave Hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey. The vibe was “clean, authentic & luxurious cave dwelling. It's like no place on this planet.”
  • “No bar scene (I tried) and not a lot of socializing with other guests,” cautions Cynthia Rowley, the fashion designer, of Uma Paro in Bhutan.But the personal butlers, guides and drivers assigned to each guest “are smart and speak perfect English.”

"I've made a lot of friends in 20 years in the hotel industry, and now all of us want to share our insight and excitement with like-minded travelers," Ben says. 

The site has received many accolades from knowledgeable travelers including being named the No. 1 travel blog by Stylecaster and the best new travel blog by LE Miami.

Now, thanks to a partnership with Curacity, A Hotel Life will not only tell travelers the best places to stay, it also will reserve the best room for them at the best price.

“We partnered with Curacity because they are as devoted to providing creative and personal service as the hotels we love to write about,” Ben says. “Now your next great adventure can start as soon as you reserve a room.”

Curacity: Merging distinctive travel journalism with hotel reservations

Curacity is reinventing hotel reservations by building partnerships with publishers and journalists that have deep expertise and unique points of view.  In 2015, it launched SurfaceHotels.com that features the 500 hotels with the best architecture and design as reviewed by Surface Magazine.

“Our mission is to help discriminating travelers find the best place to stay for their personal needs and dreams,” said Mike Keriakos, Curacity’s founder and chief executive. "The world doesn't need another giant site that can book any room at any hotel. We're building a family of sites, each with a unique perspective and list of favorite hotels."

Mike adds that another goal of Curacity is to help publishers compensate for the industry's sharp declines in advertising and subscription revenue.

“It’s a shame when someone reads an insightful review on a site devoted to quality travel journalism then flips to book their trip on a generic reservations service,” he says. “We think the commissions from those bookings should go back to pay for more great travel content.”

Curacity is also building a suite of services to help independent, boutique and luxury hotels tell their stories to travelers who will appreciate their unique offerings. These include custom content, email marketing, and sponsored placement on partner websites. These programs are powered by groundbreaking database technology that can measure and optimize the effectiveness of travel content marketing.

Mike Keriakos was the co-founder and president of Everyday Health, one of New York’s most successful digital media companies, from its creation in 2002 through its initial public offering in 2014.

“At Everyday Health, we used new ways to use data that allowed healthcare marketers to reach their prospects more efficiently at the same time supporting the very best health and wellness journalism,” Mike says. “Now we will do the same for travel.”

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About Curacity

Curacity provides white-glove hotel booking services for high-quality travel publishers with deep expertise and unique points of view.

Press Contact

Saul Hansell
saul@curacity.com
(646) 714-2470

Interview Availability

Ben Pundole, editor of A Hotel Life, and vice president for Brand Experience at Edition Hotels, a partnership between Ian Schrager and Marriott. Mike Keriakos, founder and CEO of Curacity; former co-founder and president of Everyday Health.